Sunday, 7/16/17 – Broken, But Beautiful

So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

We’re all broken. Every single one of us. But yet, we all have a destiny of glory. God does not make anything bad, and even when we mess up, even when we make mistakes, even when stuff just happens to us. Even when we don’t listen and our seed is burnt up by the midday sun or choked out by the weeds, he is there to re-scatter the seed and make something good out of us again. To make a fresh start. To make something out of nothing.

From time to time, we have to become nothing again, if we are to take that step closer, that step higher, to something.

But to do this we have to be broken.

And sometimes you have to be broken to become something beautiful.

This is what I thought of when I read the readings today, especially when I read the verse from Isaiah 55:11. God has plans for us, plans for good. He has a destiny, a destination. I think the path we take to that destination can deviate, based upon our choices and circumstances, and God just adapts, and puts us in different, new situations where we can do His will, where we have another chance to finally become his rich soil.

And we may for a while, but then we make choices, or encounter situations where we may not be that fertile. And so God adapts again, routing us to a different path, but with the same destination.
His Word, His creation does not return to Him until we achieve for Him the reason why He sent us.

I think this is so beautiful.

I’m up on Lake Michigan right now as I write this, my last day of vacation. Lake Michigan, for those of you around the world who are not aware, is one of the Great Lakes here in the United States, and these lakes are immense. Really, they are freshwater, inland seas.

Where we stay, on the west coast of Michigan’s lower peninsula, is one of the world’s longest expanse of continuous sand dunes, and the beaches are amazing. We don’t have sea shells on the Great Lakes like what there are on the oceans, but one thing that is really cool is beach glass.

Beach glass, also known as sea glass, is basically made from trash. Specifically, thrown away glass bottles and other glass objects that make their way into the water. The waves and currents tumble the glass against the beaches, rocks, break walls, and so on and the glass breaks.

But as the shards of glass are continuously thrust against things like rocks, their sharp edges are rounded and the glossy finish becomes more frosted in appearance. The glass becomes very beautiful, almost like a gemstone. This process takes 30-40 years or more. Lake Michigan is a hotspot for beach glass, and while the best places are around the larger cities, we found some small pieces around where we were.

But when I think about beach glass, the whole story behind it just fascinates me, and the parallels are amazing.  A glass bottle is created, for example, for a specific purpose, and it is perfect. But then it is thrown away, and is shattered – broken. But through that brokenness something more beautiful, and repurposed comes out of it – something that can be used for things like decoration or jewelry.

More beautiful than its original purpose. Perhaps its intended purpose.

I really see us as beach glass in the eyes of God. Maybe He intends for us to be a beautiful piece of beach glass, shaped by time, irregularly perfect. But we must first be broken. Sometimes our lives are shattered, and we are pounded against the rocks. Sometimes we have to break apart again, or be tumbled longer to achieve our desired shape and beauty.

But Gods plan will not go unfinished. His word shall not return to Him void. His purpose for us will be achieved for the reason He created us.

Sometimes we are poor soil, but God continues to reach us in different ways, in different paths and tills us until we’re fertile.

Sometimes our lives become shattered, and we feel like we’re thrown away into the waves, only to be forgotten. Our edges, jagged and sharp. We’re being tumbled about in life, banging against the rocks, not sure if it’s ever going to get better. But then at some point, it all becomes apparent. At some point, we look into the mirror and we’re a beautiful, colorful, frosted stone. The sharp and jagged edges gone.

God never ceases to fulfill His plan, even when we try to do otherwise. He always achieves the end for us for which He sent us.

Sometimes we have to be broken though, to become something beautiful.

About the Author

My name is Joe LaCombe, and I am a writer in Indianapolis, Indiana in the USA. My amazing wife Kristy and I have been married for 15 years and we have an awesome little boy, Joseph, who is in 1st Grade! We are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel, Indiana where we volunteer with Adult Faith Formation, most recently with the marriage enrichment ministries. To see adults, and married couples embrace the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is a beautiful thing, and being able to tap into my experiences and bring the message of God to people through the written word is a passion of mine. I am an avid runner! I love to run and be out in the nature that God created, so you will find me running not only on sunny days, but rainy days, and even snow! I love to train for and compete in distance races, and find a deep spirituality in running, and I see distinct parallels between running and spirituality and life. I am excited and extremely blessed to be able to contribute to this website and look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences!

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  1. I live on one of the Fingerlakes in NY and have enjoyed lake glass for all my life. My daughter makes jewelry and other fun trinkets with the glass and some are really works of art. I’ll never look at another piece without thinking of this. Thank you and God bless.

  2. Most Excellent reflection Joe. I’d like to ask you to do me a small personal favor uh, hhheemmmm. If you would be so kind uh, wolverine that is. Do you think in your spare time, there is no hurry at all, just when ever you might get around to it when you are free. But can you make me a wolverine lake glass buckeye for my Christmas tree?? I happen to be a buckeye and would like a nice decoration for my Christmas collection. Now if this isn’t possible don’t you fret about it now, we’ll see you on the football field and play patty cake again. <<>> Great reflection, God bless you Joe!!

  3. What a soul soothing rrflections that inspires my whole being!
    Broken to be beautifull!
    Thanks Joe, will never miss to read your Sunday Gospel reflections!
    God bless you and your family!

  4. Great reflection Joe… God bless you and your family… I really look forward to your reflections every Sunday morning…. It’s the first thing I do… I read the scriptures and then your reflections… God bless…

  5. Wow!! Thank you for this wonderful reflection.
    I was so immense reading it, it’s like my heart reading it and not my eyes..
    Really thank you and God bless you more.

  6. Simply amazing Joe ! The fact that God used you at that spot (vacation) to bring out this beautiful reflection stuns me. And the smoothing of the sharp edges to become more beautiful.. our intended purpose.. totally resonates with me at the moment. God’s spirit is working wonders through you. God bless you.

  7. Oh Joe, what a great reflection! Your wise words have spoken to me deeply. I have been thinking of how often I have been failing in choosing the words that come out of my mouth lately. I am broken. But now I see that God wants to make something beautiful out of the broken me. I want to be his fertile soil. I want to say honeycomb words, especially to my husband and kids. May the Holy Spirit chose the words all of us speak all day long. God bless.

  8. Having struggled with a gambling problem for some time and pretty much gone broke after one more big bet yesterday, I’m done. I’m resolved to finally put this to bed and move past the psychological anguish and anxiety. Thank you for this reflection, which reminds me that things can improve and God still has something great in store for me.

  9. Thank you so much, Joe. You are a wonderful conduit of Gods truth and grace…So relatable! What a beautiful picture of HOPE !!

  10. I am reading your beautiful meditation in a cozy cabin on a lake in Minnesota. I wish I could give a week on a lake to everyone! Mass today was at a beautiful grotto in the midst of towering pines. To end this day with your meditation is a blessing.

  11. Sir good morning ! You have a wonderful sharing’s on this reflection. Can I use part of your lines for my booklet of Life moments with God to be shared to my students? Thanks a lot sir
    God Bless. JANE C. BASUL

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